Teacher Licensure Program
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The School of Education offers course work leading to initial Colorado licensure to undergraduate, postbaccalaureate and master’s degree students. Colorado requires public school teachers to be licensed by its state department of education. Students who successfully complete all School of Education requirements will be recommended for a Colorado provisional (initial) teaching license, the license issued to all new teachers in Colorado. Licensure requirements vary from state to state and from teaching area to area. Students who are interested in teaching in other states should familiarize themselves with the requirements of those states so they may plan an appropriate degree program.
Teacher education at the University of Colorado, while administered by the School of Education, is a university-wide function. Many academic departments provide course work that supports the teacher in training. Undergraduate students follow a prescribed set of Arts and Sciences core courses that meet state content preparation standards, complete a major and satisfy professional education requirements concurrently. The program involves a combination of courses at the university and K–12 school placements.
Undergraduate and Postbaccalaureate (Nonmaster’s Degree) Licensure Programs
- Elementary (grades K–6) education
- Secondary education (grades 7–12) fields:
World language (French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian or Spanish)
- Music (grades K–12)
Secondary Master’s Degree Plus Licensure Program
(see Graduate Study section for additional program information)
- Secondary education (grades 7–12) fields:
Program Mission and Commitments
The School of Education prepares educators who are able to enact commitments to social justice and equitable access to deep content learning in school, family and community contexts.
The following principles guide our work in preparing the next generation of educators:
- Teachers must position students as sense-makers and knowledge-generators, who desire to invest and succeed in school. This involves noticing children/youth, building relationships with them, valuing their perspectives and attending to their thinking, curiosities and capabilities.
- Teaching is both intellectual work and a craft. Deep knowledge of content and pedagogy, creativity and passion fuel both learning and teaching.
- Teachers must design equitable learning environments in which all children are engaged in robust and consequential learning.
- Teacher’s instruction and student learning is always conducted within the context of larger social systems, structures and hierarchies.
- What we do and say matters and must be analyzed. Our language and action constructs or constrains opportunities for children to build meaningful, positive and sustained relationships to learning and one another.
Colorado Teacher Quality Standards
Teacher education candidates engage in a planned sequence of courses and accompanying clinical experiences in local community and school sites. Courses and assessments ensure candidates have demonstrated appropriate mastery of (1) content taught in the Colorado Academic Standards and (2) professional practices and dispositions associated with the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards listed below.
I. Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
II. Teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.
III. Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
IV. Teachers reflect on their practice.
V. Teachers demonstrate leadership.
VI. Teachers take responsibility for student academic growth.
Undergraduate Students. Undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder seeking both a bachelor’s degree and teacher licensure must complete a major approved for prospective teachers by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. With careful planning beginning freshman year, these programs may be completed in four years. A list of these approved majors is available on the School of Education website, www.colorado.edu/education. No professional education course work taken before the implementation of the Colorado Model Content Standards and Performance-Based Standards for Colorado Teachers may count for teacher education requirements.
The major selected is determined by the student’s interest in teaching a certain subject or instructional level. Before selecting a particular major, students may see the School of Education advisor. Students interested in teaching at the secondary level should be aware that in many subject areas the teaching program requires additional courses or more hours than the academic major. Course requirements for all programs are explained in the program checklists available in Education 151.
Admission to all School of Education programs is selective. Satisfying minimal admission criteria does not guarantee admission.
Students Entering or Currently Enrolled at the University of Colorado
Undergraduate students seeking to complete the School of Education teacher education program must be enrolled in an approved degree program in one of the colleges or schools of the university. All undergraduates interested in teaching may seek teacher education advising at the time they enter the university. Freshman and sophomore students are encouraged to satisfy as many of the arts and sciences core requirements, liberal arts requirements for the appropriate licensure program and major field requirements as possible before applying for admission to the teacher education program. Some education courses may be taken prior to admission to the teacher education program. Students should pick up advising materials in Education 153 and attend all education information sessions, including freshman orientation.
Undergraduate students who seek to transfer to the University of Colorado from another accredited institution must apply for admission through the Office of Admissions. They must enroll in a degree program in one of the undergraduate degree-granting colleges or schools of the university and also apply for admission to the teacher education program in the School of Education. At least 30 hours of course work for licensure must be taken while the student is officially enrolled as a student in the university. Credit in student teaching will not transfer to the University of Colorado Boulder. Please see Undergraduate Admission in the General Information section for specific requirements.
Former students who have not completed an undergraduate degree may reenter the university according to general university policies; however, subsequent to that readmission, they must apply separately for entry into the teacher education program. Undergraduate students who anticipate that they will graduate prior to completing the teacher education program must see the School of Education advisor. All admitted students who remain continuously enrolled will be expected to complete the program in effect at the time of their admission to the program unless state accrediting changes dictate otherwise.
Postbaccalaureate and Master’s Degree Students Seeking Teacher Training
Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue licensure should apply directly to the School of Education. Students desiring institutional recommendation for licensure must complete at least 30 semester hours of work at the University of Colorado and also must fulfill the same academic area requirements as undergraduate students. The actual number of required hours will depend on courses already completed.
Students may apply to one of the teacher education programs if the following requirements have been fulfilled:
- GPA. Elementary and secondary students must have and maintain a 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) cumulative GPA, 2.75 at CU-Boulder, 2.75 in their subject area (secondary teacher fields) and 2.75 in education. Music students must have and maintain a 3.00 overall and in their subject area. Students applying to Master’s Plus (MA+) programs must have and maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA.
- Prior Degrees. Students applying to Postbaccalaureate and Master’s Plus (MA+) programs must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Youth Experience. Students must provide written verification of 25 clock hours of satisfactory experiences with elementary, middle/junior high or senior high school-aged youth (appropriate to the desired program) in the past five years. Forms for this purpose are available in the Office of Student Services, Education 153, or online at www.colorado.edu/education/sites/default/files/attached-files/Youth_Experience_Form.pdf. Students in the CU Teach program meet this requirement through school experiences in Step 1 and 2 courses.
- Basic Skills. All teacher education students must demonstrate basic skills competence in mathematics and literacy. This may be done through acceptable grades in appropriate college course work, or by acceptable standardized test scores. Contact the Office of Student Services in Education 153 for more information.
- Letters of Recommendation.
- Personal Statement.
- Fee. The appropriate application fee should be submitted with application materials. Fees vary by program.
Individuals interested in completing the teacher education program at the University of Colorado Boulder should request application materials from the Office of Student Services, Education 153 or online at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective-students. Students currently enrolled in a degree program at Boulder will need to complete an application.
Individuals who have completed a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution and are not currently enrolled at the university must complete a program application, a university application and submit official transcipts from all previous colleges directly to the Office of Admissions.
Students are responsible for obtaining a student handbook and program checklist, which are available online. The student handbook is available at www.colorado.edu/education/current-students/forms-policies and the program checklists are available at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective-students/undergraduate-licensure/current-CU-undergrads.
Off-campus students may obtain advising materials online at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective-students or by calling 303-492-6555.
At CU-Boulder, degree requirements vary among the schools and colleges. Students seeking a degree at the University of Colorado should consult, as soon as possible, with an advisor in the college or school from which they expect to graduate and with the School of Education advisor.
Students are encouraged to become familiar with the teacher education requirements by comparing their own transcripts to the published advising materials. Students can then talk with an advisor before applying to the program or they may wait until after their applications are processed. Students seeking teacher training in French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish or music should see the designated advisor for that teaching field in addition to the School of Education advisor.
Advising also may be obtained by email through contacting email@example.com. When requesting email advising, students should make questions as specific as possible.
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